From the archive: A few books from teens & early-twenties

I am going through storage boxes from my teens and early twenties and found a somewhat random selection of my books from that time.

Here is No Boundaries by Ken Wilber which I found at Norli bookstore in Oslo in my lateish teens. It was the first book that clearly outlined and described what had been revealed here in the initial oneness shift when I was sixteen. I had found a book by Meister Eckart that showed that he perceived it too, but it was shrouded in the cultural differences between us and likely his attempts at aligning with Christianity. Ken Wilber’s No Boundary was a bit on the intellectual side, of course, but from a contemporary who described what was and is alive here. I absolutely loved the book and read it several times.

I found Jung before Wilber and loved his books and approach. Here are a few of the books I read by him at the time. I was especially fascinated with his books on synchronicity, dream work, archetypes, and alchemy. I still remember reading his book on synchronicities on the tram in Oslo. He described writing an essay on fish symbolism in religion and dreams and experiencing a series of fish synchronicities. As I read that, a man sat down on opposite me and put down a plastic bag facing me on the seat directly across from me. On the bag was a large colorful print of a big fish.

I also felt deeply at home in Jes Bertelsen’s approach. I read all his books multiple times and put the exercises into daily practice. His approach closely matches what I had found for myself at the time: A balance between head, heart, and life. Practices from Buddhism and Christianity. Working with energy. Using the depth psychology of Jung and his followers. And so on.

I loved and love the Heart Prayer or Jesus Prayer and did it as a practice throughout the day in periods. I also noticed how the prayer started living its own life, including through the night. I also loved and love the Christ meditation where you visualize Christ (as a light or presence) in all the six directions and in the heart. These are two books and a journal central to my life at the time. The Way of a Pilgrim describes the Heart Prayer and some of it’s effects. Kristen djupmeditasion by Wilfrid Stinnisen (he has many very good books). And the Epiphany journal issue on ecospirituality.

I remember finding these two Danish books (Politikens Forlag) fascinating and a good synthesis, one on a holistic worldview and the other on reincarnation.

I loved and love Taoism and Taoist practices, including these and more books by Mantak Chia. I did many of the practices described in these books and noticed an immediate and strong effect – both in my energy system and life. I unfortunately didn’t continue after I left for the US. I found these books and practices while living with my parents so it must have been in high school or just after.

A few books in the poetry and archetypal story genre. Alf Larsen of Aasmund Brynildsen both came from a more anthroposophical background. I loved the short stories by Leo Tolstoy.

I suspect these are from when I was 23 or 24. I started branching out more to second and third-generation Jungians. I especially loved anything and everything from Marie-Louise von Franz. I had dreams of working as a therapist using Jungian Sandplay. It seemed an excellent approach to therapy.

A few more of many books on or related to Christian mysticism: Writings by St. Francis, a book from Orthodox Christianity (often more mystical in nature), and a book on the Lord’s Prayer by Rudolf Steiner.

I think I read these and other (?) books by Laing and Fromm in my teens, likely in high school. When I later studied psychology at the university, I read a lot about humanistic and existential psychology.

A few of my many art books from that time. In my mid-teens, I had a dream of making art in an updated traditional style, and discovered Odd Nerdrum who was doing it. (I later became his apprentice/student.) I studied the techniques and copied drawings. I also got into photography in my teens, and especially loved the pictorialists, Ansel Adams, and the photos of Edvard Munch. The art history book is from when I studied art history at the University of Oslo for a year.

Some of my books about or by Gandhi and Kahlil Gibran. Gandhi’s autobiography is missing although I remember it was important to me at the time.

A few books on Buddhism and Taoism, and one on Chinese medicine. For a while, I seriously considered studying Five Element acupuncture in England. (I was ready to go, but someone from the acupuncture association in Norway told me I wouldn’t be allowed to practice in Norway if I trained in Five Element acupuncture. That turned out not to be true.)

A few books on ecology. I read a lot by Arne Næss at the time, and those books must also be somewhere else. It’s possible I brought them with me to the US and lost them there.

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